We have a Football365 awards man for this week – Jake Turner – so send other mails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is your club’s main man?
I’ve been wondering over the last few days, who fans would have as their ‘Most Important Person’ in their club’s history? Could be a manager, player etc.
I’m guessing Man Utd fans would go with Sir Alex Ferguson? Liverpool might go with Bill Shankley or Kenny Dalglish? Arsenal Fans, Herbert Chapman or Arsene Wenger? Spurs maybe Bill Nicholson, Chelsea maybe Roman Abramovich? West Ham Bobby Moore?
Am I close, or have I missed some obvious ones?
Ozil? Blame Wenger for his selections…
Two major thoughts occurred to me after the game against Stoke.
Firstly, Arsene Wenger doesn’t want five at the back to succeed. This can be the only ‘logical’ explanation for playing Monreal and Sead at CB when you have Holding, Chambers and Mert on the bench. Wenger didn’t like the five at the back, he was strong armed into and it was successful. Now we all know that Wenger is the most stubborn man in football and I wouldn’t put it past him to not want it to work and to subconsciously sabotage the team. I can’t believe he would do it on purpose but he is clearly not playing ball, Chambers and Holding are both good CBs, if prone to errors but playing out of form RBs at LB is just plain dumb when you have the correct tools at your disposal.
Secondly, pundits do not have a clue. Gerrard and Keown both discussed how awful Ozil was during the match because he didn’t track back. Both were very different players to Ozil and understandably don’t understand not giving everything for the game. Ozil isn’t there to track back, he is there to be a transition to attack which you can’t do from the corner flag. He completed 91 of 98 passes, created four key passes and didn’t concede possession once. Ramsey, Bellerin and Ox all lost possession five times each, Xhaka four times leading to the goal.
Maybe if they actually assessed the Arsenal team instead of hating on the guy not running/visibly showing much effort, they would see that the RamseyXhaka midfield doesn’t work because they don’t have the intelligence for it. Neither of them are positionally astute enough in defence and leave each other hopelessly exposed regularly whenever we concede possession, which was well over 20 times against Stoke.
As per usual Ozil is the scapegoat but Wenger’s defensive selection and our clear imbalance when losing the ball is shooting us in the foot at the moment. Still, its only two games and we always lose to Stoke, I’m not worried yet..
Rob A (Bring Matic in, Pogba becomes world class. Genius) AFC
All you need is love…
I was irritated by the reaction of Manchester United fans after thrashing West Ham in their opening fixture, and after they did the same to Swansea I was all geared up to write an email to this site mocking those fans for getting excited so early in the season. I’m a Liverpool fan so Manchester United is by some distance my least favourite team on the planet.
And then I had an epiphany – why can’t they enjoy themselves? Why do I have to try and minimize the joy of even my bitterest rivals?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that so much of my anger and mockery towards fans of rival clubs (Arsenal being another club I loathe) is completely unnecessary. I understand that rivalry is a key aspect of modern fandom, but I started to realize that quite often my feelings about those clubs goes far beyond what should be healthy banter. Why should my week be ruined because Manchester United had a big win on the weekend? Why should I have so much pleasure when they lose? Isn’t it a bit weird to be so pleased with the misery of millions of people you don’t even know? Why should so much of my identity as a Liverpool fan be tied to how much I hate United?
So my resolution for the new season is to try and be a less angry and combative fan – to commiserate with my rivals when they are in a bad place and to try and keep the banter to a healthy level. Of course I will still hope they lose every week, but I’m going to try and be more understanding of those fans when they lose, and not to get mad when they celebrate. Maybe this makes me a ‘bad’ fan, but I look forward to the day when our rivalry is a gentler and more good-natured affair without the mudslinging and abuse we often see in the mailbox and the media.
Turiyo Damascene (‘Hug a Man U fan a week is my goal’) Kigali, Rwanda
Chelsea fans are kidding themselves
Having never written into the mailbox before (although I enjoy it every day), I find myself so moved by the Chelsea fans level of delusion about some of their players that it’s time that I broke that duck.
Firstly, Bakayoko. Yes, he ‘disrupted the Spurs flow’ but he did so by fouling at every given opportunity. You’d think he’d learn after Spurs equalised from a free kick he gave away by stupidly grabbing hold of someone but no, he was back doing the exact same thing moments later. Many a second yellow will come if he keeps this up!
Secondly, Morata. Everyone knows he was most clubs’ second choice this season, after all United chose Lukaku over him and Chelsea only went in for him after they missed out on Lukaku, and you could see why. After costing Chelsea an equaliser last week when he nicked Christiansen’s goal on the goal line, this week he missed an absolute sitter and then proceeded to stand still for the rest of the match. Did someone seriously praise his work ethic this morning? The amount of through balls he couldn’t be bothered to run on to was staggering, he was outplayed by a guy who’s first touch was an own goal for crying out loud!
Marcos Alonso is beast though. What a player.
Jack (go easy on me, it’s my first time), Brighton
How many defensive players?
Hats off to Chelsea’s Italian master tactician – it’s not bus parking if an Italian does it !!
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team play with three defensive midfielders before, and certainly not with three centre-backs as well.
Is he now going to play Fabregas as a deep-lying Pirlo type No.6 protected by Bakayoko and Kante when he returns – he’s surely not going to need eight defensive players for every game, is he? Add Hazard back into the mix and it could be another fascinating season.
It’s not catenaccio
Is Conte playing a libero behind a back three, and intensively man-marking?
No? Then he’s not playing catenaccio. It’s perfectly possible to just be well-organised, defensively oriented and sit deep without playing a system that specifically needs a sweeper.
The laziness of pundits…
I know you have several similar comments on the over reaction to every result but some of the so called pundits do not help and some of the punditry we are being subjected to as viewers, listeners and readers is laughable.
We have the non-stop classic hits from Paul Merson – Jon Walters is the signing of the summer is my current favourite, we have Garth Crooks’ scorer, sorry, team of the week, Jamie Redknapp repeating whatever Gary Neville or Martin Tyler have already said on commentary – why bother having someone provide a comment already made, but this morning on Radio 5 live there was a new entry of the lazy pundit from Trevor Sinclair. When discussing Aaron Mooy Trevor’s expert opinion was on how he was destined for greatness as a an ex-Man city player. Now maybe someone will have more detail but from what I can gather he was at Man City for a total of six days after being purchased and subsequently loaned to Huddersfield last season and signed permanently by said team before pre-season. How and why do City get any form of credit for a player who may have attended and handful of training sessions and my expectation is that a paid ‘expert’ like Trevor would know the facts.
I think that with the blanket coverage of football that now exists in England my hope is that we would start to see more informed and intelligent analysis, Gerrard and Lampard show early promise on BT Sport or the excellent Monday Night Football show on Sky but maybe for some we are going down the more comical approach! I know, I have an idea for a show – it’s called Fantasy Football League and we can have a couple of lads on a sofa…
Greg Blatchford, Brighton
Mousa wants a word
From Winners: ‘there is no more attractive central midfielder with the ball at his feet outside of Real Madrid’ – I think Mousa Dembele might have something to say about that statement.
And so it has happened.
In yet another effort to make up a funny turn of phrase (which are somehow both not funny, nor actual turn of phrases), Mr Storey has outdone himself, and reached Peak Storey.
I didn’t think it could get any worse than the debacle that was ‘a haystack in a pile of needles’, but today’s use of ‘Schindler’s list’ is so stunningly bad I’m actually shocked.
It’s interesting how such an obviously talented writer (see Portraits series) can have such a glaring blindspot.
Defending international football
It’s time for me to once again defend international football from Johnny Nic’s ‘scathing attack’. On a side note, I completely agree with the idea of abolishing the transfer window, though I hold out little hope.
Onto the subject of international football, however. There’s a supposedly disruptive international break coming up in a couple of weeks’ time. I really like international football; indeed, I prefer it to watching the Champions League, and most Premier League matches as well, but that’s not really the issue. I feel John would have done well to remind us why we have international football in August. The answer is that the August fixtures replaced the April fixtures a few years back. International fixtures in April were seen to be disruptive to the title race, and the risk of injury at that time of the season was deemed to be greater. Not to mention the Champions League restructures its schedule to spread out over more weeks during March and April. In other words, club football won, and we have the August internationals as a result. You can’t have it both ways.
Only, the argument goes that you can have it both ways. I really like John’s liberal attitude and the way he thinks about others rather than himself. However, when he (and others) get on to the subject of international football, I feel it’s always written through a very English (or Western European) lens. Why raise the point that different countries have different schedules when trying to make the point that the transfer window should be abolished, then completely ignore it when championing an international fixtures window ‘two or three weeks after the season’? Which season is that? Should Brazil shut down its league for three or four weeks? Shall we make some African countries play in the baking heat in the middle of June or July so we can sit at home and consume our Premier League ‘product’ without interruption? Let’s also remember that South America plays 18 games in World Cup qualifying. With the Copa America to play, that’s nine post-season games in alternate years, under John’s proposal.
I understand the arguments John makes, but the reality is that FIFA are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Move the internationals and you get lobbying for a winter break once there is more room in the calendar. Or you do away with those brilliant midweek rounds of fixtures in January and February. Who wants to see that go? Or you get managers complaining about players not getting a rest. There’s a compromise to be had, so might I suggest sitting back, and tuning in to watch a game where top-level players are playing for something other than money (avoid England – it will only make you angry). It’s quite liberating, and John of all people should appreciate that.
Write in, people…
In response to the chap who wrote in this morning bemoaning the lack of report/coverage of Newcastle’s game yesterday – can I just say that I really enjoyed his own take on the game. Given 365 have limited staff/capacity, reading the mailbox to get the take of people that have been to other games/seen them on TV is quality reading. If you’ve been to a match, are not a one-eyed biased numpty, and can write an email – get your views and conclusions in to help fill the gaps!
That Gazza story…
Explains why he went to Spurs…
Rich (it’s a cock joke ffs) AFC, London